“Have A Heart For Chained Dogs” Campaign

Dogs Deserve BetterAs Valentine’s Day approaches, non-profit Dogs Deserve Better is asking for help from dog lovers and others in an unusual direct mail outreach which pairs Valentines created by schoolchildren with America’s chained dogs.

Dogs Deserve Better, a national rescue and advocacy group dedicated to ending the suffering endured by perpetually chained dogs, annually sends Valentines and coupons for dog treats to chained canines across the country. The group includes a brochure for the dog’s caretakers, explaining why the antiquated practice of chaining dogs for their lives is a form of abuse. The materials encourage people to bring their dogs into the home and family or to find better homes for the animals.

By the end of January, the group is seeking to have 10,000 addresses for perpetually chained dogs. The group also needs volunteers to make the Valentines and requests donations of coupons for dog treats or dog food.

“Winter is a critical time to reach out directly to the people who chain their dogs, and what better excuse than Valentine’s Day to send these forgotten animals a little love,” says Tammy Grimes, founder and director of the five-year-old non-profit. “Every winter our rescuers see dogs that have frozen in the snow, suffered frostbite, or otherwise endured horrific living conditions because of the longstanding misperception that it is appropriate to chain a dog outside in any kind of weather.”

“This is the perfect opportunity for people who pass chained dogs every day, or who live next door to these poor animals, but feel powerless to make a difference,” continues Grimes. “People can anonymously provide us with the addresses of these dogs, or perhaps make a batch of Valentines, and we do the rest.”

Dogs Deserve Better sees success stories every year from its grassroots direct mail campaign. “Of course, we get angry calls from people who are mired in habit or tradition and don’t see anything wrong with chaining a dog for 10 or 15 years. However, on the flip side, we always learn of situations where the recipients of our Valentines finally think about the suffering they are causing and either bring the dog inside or find the dog a better home.”

The creation of the Valentines is an ideal project for schools, scouting troops, and other similar organizations. “Children have a natural affinity for animals and they enjoy making art projects,” says Grimes, an artist herself.

Although the practice of 24/7 chaining is pervasive in many parts of the country, especially in rural areas, states and cities have, in recent years, started to pass laws against the practice. California passed a law in 2006 and Texas followed suit in 2007. Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and South Carolina are among the states currently considering laws that would put reasonable limits on how long a dog may be chained outdoors. Hundreds of cities have passed, or are considering, similar legislation.

33 Responses to ““Have A Heart For Chained Dogs” Campaign”

  1. KAEfamily says:

    That picture is disturbing!

  2. EmilyS says:

    oh goodie! let’s steal more family dogs under the guise of “humaneness”.
    Be sure to hide the dog, then contact the media. Refuse to return the dog even when ordered to. Get convicted of theft. Become a martyr, and raise lots of money.

    Never ever talk to the owner directly, or offer some assistance.

    Be especially sure that anyone who has a different notion of caring for dogs than you NEVER be allowed to own a dog.

    What’s wrong with the dog in that picture? He has shelter, seems reasonably clean and healthy. Of course he’s not wearing a cute little sweater. So OBVIOUSLY the owner doesn’t care about him.

  3. Tanya says:

    Well said, Emily.

    I’m just waiting for the next family dog to get “arrested”. then everyone to yell at animal control — all because thsoe same people yelling at animal control, pushed for “no chain” laws.

    Everyone has different views on what is right for a dog. As long as the dog is not harmed, why are other people sticking thier noses in it? I’m waiting for the “you must walk your dog no less than 3 times a day” rule. I’m sure some “doggie do-gooder” has proposed such a law, somewhere.

  4. Cate says:

    I’m shocked that anyone thinks the dog in that picture is “ok”. Did you see the doghouse?

    In past generations it was considered ok to get a dog, stick it outside and if you fed it you were taking “good” care of it.

    Today, most people understand that dogs need interaction and stimulation. Yes, they should be walked so that they have a change of scenery. We have many things to do every day.

    Imagine if you had to stay in one room in your house and couldn’t watch TV, listen to the radio, read or talk to people on the phone. I think most of us would agree that would be a terrible life. That is what it is like for a dog on then end of a chain for long periods of time.

    Finally, what is the point of having a dog if you don’t keep it as a member of your family? You might as well get a stuffed animal.

    I pity all the poor dogs that live their lives on the end of a chain and I think it’s shameful that anyone in this day and age think it’s ok to keep a dog like that.

  5. Don Earl says:

    IMO, a fenced yard comes pretty close to being a minimum requirement for dog ownership in most situations.

    On the other hand, as Emily points out, pictured is what appears to be a clean, healthy dog, with shelter available, outside on a sunny day, with plenty of chain to run around. The dog does not appear to be “abused” in any meaningful sense of the word, although it does look like it could use a pat on the head.

    But, then, maybe the pat on the head thing is what’s all about anyhow. I have a little trouble trying to understand why anyone would get a pet if they don’t have time to pet it. Dogs are very social animals and need attention and company to be happy. There isn’t a lot of difference between leaving a dog alone forever in a fenced yard or at the end of a chain.

    As discussed some weeks back, the tactics used by the so called “Dogs Deserve Better” leave a lot to be desired. When an outfit describes itself as getting a LOT of angry calls it’s a clear sign the approach is such as to warrant angry calls. This Grimes person is less an activist, than she is an over the edge, profiteering vigilante.

    I very strongly favor the idea of programs to better inform pet owners and potential pet owners along the lines of a best practices approach to responsible pet ownership. I think too many people get puppies and kittens that really don’t want a dog or a cat. As soon as it grows up, they lose interest. Or worse, they don’t get the pet fixed, so they keep pumping out more puppies and kittens. More emphasis on the fact that adopting a puppy or kitten is a 15-20 year committment to a dog or a cat would do a lot more good than going about annoying people with a personal agenda that isn’t totally rational.

  6. KAEfamily says:

    Why are not all animals, wild or domesticated. chained at all time? The chain is an ingenious invention by the the intelligent human beings to retain their superiority over other beings. Slavery comes to mind ;-)

  7. Katie says:

    The picture is disturbing. Dogs are social animals. They need to be part of a family. Do you know how many dogs are brought into rescue groups every month who have spent their whole lives tied to a chain outside with no human interaction? There are cases of dogs well into 10+ years old living this way since they were puppies. Pet Education is badly needed, and Don I couldn’t agree more; “more emphasis on the fact that adopting a puppy or kiten is a 15 - 20 yr committment” and adopting into a household with human interaction not chained outside for 15 years or more.


  8. Nora and Rufus says:

    The 2nd and 3rd comments have left me without words that I can print here! I feel sorry for your animals EmilyS and Tanya.

  9. shibadiva says:

    Animals don’t have feelings and they can thrive in all sorts of weather.

    The dog sure looks as though she has it better than those pigs and chickens on the factory farm. Look at that great doghouse and she must have 10 feet of chain to run on.

    Besides, she stopped being a cute puppy years ago, and she’s supposed to be guarding the house, not messing it.

    Anyway, where would we put her when we go four-wheeling all weekend?

    Yep, she has the sweet life.

  10. Jack says:

    That Itchmo promotes a terrorist agenda and website of a convicted felon leaves me with real concerns. Vigilantees have no place in society nor in legal standing for real reason–their actions are as criminal as are the acts of any other thief of privately owned property. Particularly young people so easily seduced emotionally often fail to realize that their personal facilitation including funding of any group orgnized and conspiring to conduct property theft including that of dogs leaves the partipants as criminally guilty as the property thieves as well as possibly open to prosecution under federal RICO statutes. This propaganda of it being inappropriate for owners to ever chain dogs accompanied by daily more fanatics’ efforts to criminalize chaining dogs has gone light years past sanity. These fanatics’ acts and sought agendas are not and have never been about dogs or abuse as there are legal venues to protect animals from real abuse. Every negative event involving any dog on a chain is milked for every last atom of potential propaganda use and screamed by those with emotions aboil and brains on hold from every rooftop coast to coast. Untold, on a daily basis quietly continue the lives of hundreds of thousands of stories daily these rabid fanatics prevent being mentioned about healthy, well accomodated, and well treated hunting dogs, sled dogs, watch dogs and other dogs of crucial value and importance to their owners…which dogs not at all incidentally often are and are appropriately on chains. That every dog should or must be kept in a house treated as a human child is a notion put forth only by the those severely misled through deluded or, worse, members of one of the multitudes of folk who have the agenda of eradicating all privately owned dogs within this generation now on the ground. Despite what they tell themselves and each other these folk are neither lovers of life nor of animals. They do, however, harbor and promulgate hatred of their fellow man with their identities being derived from that hatred and extreme prejudice.

  11. Nora and Rufus says:

    Jack, go chain yourself, appropriately. You are showing your prejudice and hatred.

  12. Tanya says:

    It occurs to me that some people cannot distinguish “permant chained lives” to “being on a chain, with healthy interaction”.

    No one knows from this picture if the dog is a well treated pet, or a working guard dog, or a sad neglected animal. give my your most loved, best treated animal and i can manage to take one picture of it that looks sad and lost and forlorne and abandoned. It’s not hard.

    I’ve lived around and worked with dogs all my life — working animals on farms, for the most part. Dogs on farms (which are quite often chained at night, which are teathered for thier protection as well as other animals and wild life, and in some instances, children who are too young to understand “lassie” vs., a working dog) are quite happy in most situations. they get tons of interaction, they get tons of stimulation that the average house pet will never get. They are not mistreated - but they do spend time on chains.

    Those of you who complain that dogs don’t have enough room to “run around” in, if they are chained, how much more room do they have in a small apartment where they are loved?

    people here who make assumptions based on ONE PICTURE which is used intentionally to support a particular view are guilty of feeding into hype and hysteria.

  13. Cate says:

    Tanya - please explain to me how a dog that is chained at night can protect itself from a predator if it is confined by the chain?

  14. monicas says:

    What is all this stuff about “terrorist agenda” etc. with regard to DDB? That’s pretty over the top. Yes, Tammy flouted the law in service of ONE dog. But she and DDB have rescued thousands of dogs - many in excruciating agony - and trained them and found them homes, all under the letter of the law. DDB builds free fences and assists with housetraining and socialization. Anway, Tammy is not a “convicted felon.” She was convicted of a misdemeanor.

    The fact is that laws in most places allow people to chain a dog to a tree, put up a clap-trap dog house and leave the dog there for 10 years to pace back and forth in the same patch of dirt. How is that not abuse?

    Many people who keep dogs this way only feed and water them occasionally. A permanent life on a chain is a sad, sad existence for a dog.

    Tanya says: what does it matter if the dog is not “harmed.” You don’t need to beat a dog every day or starve it to death to have it be “harmed.” Perpetually chained dogs are harmed every day - but because chaining is a “process” not an “event” like a beating, people fail to see the abuse inherent in the practice.

  15. monicas says:

    shibadiva are you serious or were you trying to make a point through irony? Dogs have no feelings? Have you ever spent time with a dog, watched it wag its tail in happiness or slink away in sadness? Thrive in all sorts of weather?? Guess you don’t know about the thousands of dogs (perhaps tens of thousands) that freeze to death every winter - most are attached to chains.

    What good is a CHAINED “guard dog” except to bark. Get an alarm. Much more effective and you don’t have to pick up feces and annoy the neighbors with a constantly barking, half-insane and neurotic dog.

  16. monicas says:

    Here’s a link about some of the suffering endured by sled dogs. Even if you think Dogs Deserve Better is a “terrorist group” (hyperbole to the nth degree) just take a minute to think about it. Even if Tammy Grimes, founder of DDB, is a “terrorist,” she still RIGHT about the fact that animal welfare laws in this country do not protect many perpetually chained dogs from a lifetime of agony.


  17. monicas says:

    Tanya: You said: “Everyone has different views on what is right for a dog.” Well, who gets to draw the line? Michael Vick had his own personal view on what’s right for a dog…

    I say we let a majority of reasonable people draw the line. I say we err on the side of compassion and promoting minimal standards of care, instead of erring on the side of blind tradition and bad habit. I say we err on the side of promoting compassionate animal ownership, not on the side of breeders who just want to pump out more puppies into an overcrowed world. I say we err on the side of what most reasonable people believe: that is, chaining a dog to a tree or a fence or a broken-down car for 10 years is a form of abuse and holds no place in our supposedly englightened society. Tanya, no matter how you may feel about one woman - about Tammy Grimes - why on earth would you so adamantly argue in favor of letting people “do what they want” with their dogs when there are so many people out there who simply don’t “get it,” who simply don’t have a compassionate bone in their body, and -sadly - who need the government to show them what minimal standards of care means. That’s why we have animal welfare laws!

  18. shibadiva says:

    I guess with some of the opinions on this thread, it would be easy to mistake my earlier comments about “no feelings” for something other than sarcasm.

    Too many families get cuddly puppies then neglect them in the backyard for years. Reading Temple Grandin’s books gives us a whole lot of insight into animal emotions and intelligence, and how myopic we are. It wasn’t that long ago when women and people of colour weren’t “human”. Another place to look, if you’re into reading, is Matthew Scully’s book “Dominion”, which challenges our interpretations of “stewardship”.

    Yes, there’s a difference between temporarily confining a dog on a tie-out versus leaving it out in all sorts of weather and potentially with predators, testy raccoons or nasty kids. That’s why a number of states are now passing legislation to limit chaining and encourage socialization. I look forward to more of that (and the same here in Canada).

    Maybe that happy dog in the picture (which does look like it wants to be petted) is just out there for a few hours and it was a family member that took the picture, not a terrorist come to steal the dog. The doghouse, though, might suggest that the dog lives there a good part of the time. Some of these people just figure that since it’s an animal, you can dump a dog anywhere and it will survive just fine. Especially the old and the little ones.

    Last time I looked, this thread was about sending valentines (read, flyers) to people who chain their dogs out, as a way of educating them. Sounds like some of the recipients actually got the message and did something about it.

    The “terrorist” comments are kind of over the top, especially given that the legal issues were beaten to death on the previous Tammy Grimes thread. Those keystrokes might be put to better use writing to your state representative to advocate for humane treatment unless, of course, “it’s just an animal” to you.

  19. mittens says:

    i see nothing wrong with a well cared for, fed, watered and sheltered outdoor dog as well as with ‘ working dogs’ on farms and such that are not the ‘permanent puppy’ family dogs. as long as it is vetted, and not abused and provided with excercise- the only abuse is that projected by that those who have no concept of animals who are not treated as if they were human children. it is class and leisure that has allowed the evolution of dog and cat as human child substitute who need school and day care and play dates and therapists. that said there is no excuse for dogs left to starve on short chains with no food and no medical care baking in the sun- clearly that is abuse and cruel and cannot be tolerated. there is a difference. it’s not the chain per se but the conditions that would indicate an abusive situation. perhaps suggesting dog runs-the chains on runs that allow more movement would be a better approach/suggestion then letting the dog nazi self appointed canine psychologists loose on people.

    there are barn cats out there too who are feral and no way going to tolerate being in the house with humans. they are a staple of family farms and preform a much needed function- keeping the vermin at bay.domestic cats despite what some think are also social animals who tend toward matriarchal groupings with studs laced along the sidelines. there are also those cats that crave human company but loathe other cats. if people think all dogs and cats have exactly the same needs because of your anthropomorphizing theories you are gravely mistaken. there are plenty of dogs who hate being around other dogs. i for one loathe other humans for the most part but humans are suppose to be social animals too. the focus needs to be on eradicating wanton abuse and cruelty- not politically correct hair splitting on what makes puppy happiest is what ever I say it is. i feel anyone that leaves a poor sack of bones chained up with no water for days needs to be strung up by their heels but those sad pictures do not represent the conditions of all outdoor dogs and it is disingenuous and self serving to suggest it does.

  20. shibadiva says:

    Mittens, I enjoy your eloquent and balanced posts.

    It cracked me up to imagine not being able to just go out and sit in my doghouse for a few hours and think about things in peace. As Sartre put it, “Hell is other people”. My velcro dogs might not agree fully, but I’ve noticed that they occasionally DO like their space (on their own terms).

    Monicas, thanks for the link on sled dogs. That, and greyhound racing and horse racing etc. is maybe a good topic for the forums. The Iditarod started out as a relay run, but like so many things in life, it’s become institutionalized with the concomitant shortcuts and efficiencies and neglect.

  21. straybaby says:

    “IMO, a fenced yard comes pretty close to being a minimum requirement for dog ownership in most situations.”

    “Those of you who complain that dogs don’t have enough room to “run around” in, if they are chained, how much more room do they have in a small apartment where they are loved?”

    so, once no one is ever allowed to chain dogs, are apt dogs next? dogs in outdoor kennels? hmmm . . . . sounds like a whole bunch of apt renters would need to give up dog ownership along with those living in towns, cities and HOAs that don’t allow fencing that would contain a dog. oh wait! on the fencing issue, we can just install electric fences!

    careful what you wish for folks. maybe we need to concentrate on humane education? my much loved apt Dalmatian is just fine by many standards, but there are those that don’t believe this breed and many others make *good* apt dogs. they *need* a yard. lol!~ my Dal would be miserable in a fenced yard. she prefers the couch next to me while i’m working. she’ll get her runs in when i take her to the park, TYVM! an apt dog can never just get tossed in the backyard. most apt’s don’t have one and if they do, they sure aren’t enough.

  22. monicas says:

    Thank you shibadiva for reminding us that this post is simply about sending “valentines” to chained dogs - and providing educational information to the dogs’ caretakers.

  23. EmilyS says:

    what my old dog loves most is to lie outside in the sun.
    As it happens I have a fenced yard, so she can do that safely.

    But what if I couldn’t afford a fence? Am I supposed to deprive my dog of what she loves because some people are opposed to dogs being tethered? Or put her into a small kennel where she would have less freedom to move around?

    Yeah, Tammy has about said if you can’t afford a kennel, you shouldn’t have a dog.

    This whole debate is really about giving the Tammy Grimes of the world the right to decide whether your dog is meeting THEIR standard of care, regardless of what the law says. If they don’t like how you keep your dog, they can just steal it. You don’t notice them working in the city councils and state legislatures to make stronger laws, do you? They couldn’t get to be $$$$$ magnet martyrs in that case.

    It’s about a fascist- like control mentality.

  24. monicas says:

    EmilyS (and others) For once and for all: No one is saying it is wrong to occassionally tether a dog, or a chain it for a few hours at a time. What DDB is against, what Tammy is fighting against (including working to get laws passed) is 24/7 lifetime perpetual round the clock chaining. THERE IS A DIFFERENCE.

  25. Stefani says:


    “oh goodie! let’s steal more family dogs under the guise of “humaneness”.

    Do you routinely force members of your family to live outside alone on chains in the elements? Wow, some family member you are.

    As for “what’s wrong” with the dog in the picture –

    How would you like to spend your life chained up outside?

    Again, I don’t think people are talking about a few hours. I think this is for when people observe habitual chain-outs. And that’s no life for a pack animal.

  26. Sharon says:

    Chaining a dog outside is inhumane period. Austin actually did something right a few months ago and made it a crime to do what the peeps on here seem to think is ok. Heaven help the dogs of the people who don’t know any better.

  27. shibadiva says:

    EmilyS wrote: “This whole debate is really about giving the Tammy Grimes of the world the right to decide whether your dog is meeting THEIR standard of care, regardless of what the law says. If they don’t like how you keep your dog, they can just steal it. You don’t notice them working in the city councils and state legislatures to make stronger laws, do you?”

    Maybe YOUR whole debate is about this. To the rest of your point, you might check out Google.

  28. Charlie says:

    Everyone is on about chained dogs but what about the crime of keeping your dog in a crate for 9-10 hours a day? You people think crates is “all good”. Why, because you can’t see them, they are inside the house, people are so repsonsible that they bought those tiny crates to keep dogs in. I think crates should be out-lawed. (They have their place for potty training.) After your dog is potty trained the crates should go away or the door never shut again. I THINK CRATES ARE THE SAME AS CHAINING YOUR DOG!!!!!

  29. Cate says:

    Charlie - crating for long periods of time is not a good situation for a dog either. Who said crating for 9-10 hours a day is the alternative for chaining. For goodness sake - it simply takes common sense to treat a dog humanely.

    I applaud Tammy Grimes for the work she does. She did what no one else would - provided Doogie comfort in his last days. When he was lying on the cold wet ground in the rain and unable to get up for 3 days his owners did NOTHING. They walked outside, looked down at him and then went back inside. Why didn’t they take him inside? Why didn’t they take him to a vet? The owners should have been cited for abuse. Instead, the one person who cared for him and treated him as a living, sentient being was arrested. What a turned around world this is!

  30. T says:

    What many negative posters here don’t seem be aware of is that the dog Tammy saved was left outside in a terrible condition to die at the end of a chain. It was not up and happily running around. In the end, the owners neglected the dog and left it to suffer outside. The dog deserved to have a dignified death (as comfortable as possible) and that is what Tammy clearly gave him.

  31. Charlie says:

    Cate, I said nothing about Tammy Grimes. The point that I was trying to make is people are on about chaining dogs while crating can be just as abusive if not more so.

  32. Cate says:

    Charlie - I only meant to respond to you about the crating.

    I can point out that chaining a dog for long periods of time is abusive without ignoring other abusive behaviors (such as lengthy crating).

  33. Velvet's Dad says:

    I think Don Earl (whom I don’t often agree with) was right on. Dogs are very social animals and require attention, love, interaction with humans. A pet should be part of the family and you wouldn’t keep a family member tied up indefinitely.

    To Jack: You sound like someone with an ax to grind. Your comments do appear over the top as somenone else pointed out.

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